I’m retired, but I spent much of my career at Avangrid, and my best advice to Mainers is to steer clear of Pine Tree Power and vote “no” on Question 3 this November.

First, running an electric system is highly complex and not well-suited to political decision-making. Yet, Pine Tree Power would hand control to a board made up of politically elected officials and the people they select – without any public input.

Second, Pine Tree Power doesn’t get rid of private companies. To the contrary, Question 3 actually mandates that the elected board must hire a private grid operator who will earn a substantial profit that will go out of state. In fact, according to a Maine Public Utilities Commission consultant’s study, that operator will charge us $82 million per year more than our current utilities charge for operations. That’s a bad deal for Maine consumers.

Third, imagine the finger-pointing between Pine Tree Power’s elected board and the private grid operator they hire when there’s an outage. “Not my fault,” they’ll say. Just like they say in Long Island and Puerto Rico, the only other utilities in the country with this failed model.

The bottom line: Pine Tree Power keeps for-profit companies, but adds a new layer of political bureaucracy in between the private grid operator and the Maine PUC that regulates electric utilities. And we get to pay billions more for the ensuing chaos.

Running the grid is hard enough. Let’s not make it worse with Pine Tree Power.

Ken Farber

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